The simple life

What about when I come back? This question keeps presenting itself as I get rid of the majority of my stuff. Over the years I have acquired some dust collectors that live in boxes stored in my garage like Christmas decorations, hockey trophies, a polar bear costume, weird tools and other nostalgic stuff. None of which will be helpful for me while I am traveling. The thing is, I am not sure what I will need or not need when I get back. I do know right now the majority of this stuff is not serving a purpose in my life.

For example, my suit collection has dwindled down from five suits to one. Four of them have already sold on eBay. I did hold onto one suit for my sister’s wedding this spring. Maybe when I get back, I will land a new job and need a new suit (doubtful)… I guess I will just buy a new one if that need presents itself. I am keeping a few items that have significant meaning to me. However, I can’t continue to hold onto these other items based on what might or might not be the outcome of the future.

My car has been the biggest mental hurdle for me in the process of simplifying my life. I am going to unload it before I go but it has some meaning for me. It was the first car I bought when I landed my first fancy sales job. That car and I have been through alot together. I guess we all have items like this in our lives, whether they remind us of our childhood, our loved ones, or an accomplishment. For me, I am in a new place in my life, and I am ready to let it go. The memories will be there regardless if the Land Rover is with someone new.

Here is my action plan to simplify your life. Yes, I would recommend digesting these consecutively but feel free to pick and choose. I would love to hear how it goes!

  1. Inspiration to get you excited about a simpler life.

Minimalism is a documentary streaming on Netflix right now that is creating quite the buzz. I say that because about once a week I see someone post on Facebook that they just watched the movie and they are going to create change in the way they live. The movie had an impact on me, even though I considered myself somewhat aware, it helped me accept that this is more of a practice. What do I mean by practice? As humans, we tend to view things as black and white or at least I do. This view has led me to feel guilty and constantly struggle with the idea of consumerism. Inevitably it left me stuck and unhappy. I like nice things and I don’t have to feel guilty for feeling that way. I am much more aware of my habits around purchasing new items and whether or not it is compulsive. The takeaway for me from the movie is to be consciously aware of what you are buying and why you think you want something. I view being consciously aware as a practice and the more I do it, the easier it becomes.

  1. Method to declutter your life.

SparkJoy is a best seller and for good reason. Marie Kondo shares her knowledge and process around the Japanese approach of decluttering called the KonMari method. The book jived well for me because I could see it through my design eye. The design problem was I have too much stuff in my life and the process to remove the stuff was through the KonMari method. When I cleaned my house in the past I would compartmentalize my house based on rooms. Kondo suggests that instead of rooms you categorize items and filter them all at once. For instance, I have clothes in my bedroom but I also have clothes in the jacket closet and garage. I gathered all of my clothes from every room to start the process. Another idea that the book brought some light to is how we emotionally feel about items. This might sound strange but I would grab an item, pause for a second, then . This was interesting for me because there were very few things that I really got excited about.

A word of caution: I did this during the summer and was not feeling emotion towards my sweaters at the time. I ended up living in one sweater and one flannel through this winter. I survived, but there were a couple of moments I wished I had just one more choice.

  1. Sell that clutter to fund your next vacation!

Gary Vaynerchuck eBay Challenge: This challenge had me thinking about how to make some money off of the stuff that I was getting rid of. (Outside of the stuff I was donating.)  For those of you that think you can’t afford a vacation, this might be something to consider to pull in some extra cash. Are there items just lying around your house? What about those boxes in storage? In the month of February, I was able to sell over $1,000 worth of stuff I was not using or had no need for. What about Craigslist? Some items were too big and I did not want to deal with trying to figure out the shipping, so I sold them through Craigslist instead. I was able to unload more on eBay than Craigslist, because of the reach to a broader audience. Yes, it was kind of a pain in the ass to go to FedEx multiple times in a week, but it provided extra cash. #hustle

Note: When you first start selling it takes PayPal a week or so to actually transfer the money because they are waiting to make sure everything is cool with the transaction. Craigslist might be a better option if you need cash ASAP. Donating is always a great option too.

The awareness of my wants and needs has been quite the journey. This might sound a little hippie dippie but I really do view simplifying my life as a practice. Practice does not have to be perfect and circumstances in our lives change. In practice we can be a little more forgiving with ourselves and much more likely to stick with it. Ultimately I think that we all can live with less and as a bonus we might be able to make a little money on the side to fund a new adventure.

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